Without a doubt, dealing with a pregnant American Bully, or any other breed of pooch, can be a daunting experience. For one thing, there are so many stages of canine pregnancy and signs to watch out for.
Further, the entire process can be confusing for the owner who isn’t familiar with what gestation can entail — and that’s before you even start trying to figure out how to handle things once your dog is in labor.
Fortunately, this guide will help you understand what to expect when your American Bully becomes pregnant. Here, you will also learn how long this breed’s gestation period lasts, its care requirements, and more!
How Long Is an American Bully Pregnant For?
An American Bully’s pregnancy lasts around 62 to 64 days from the date of conception. Still, it will be challenging to predict exactly when the puppies will arrive since the fertilization time varies with each individual.
Specifically, once a female American Bully mates with a male and sperms are released into her uterus, it takes up to 48 hours for those sperms to reach an egg.
This makes it tough to determine the specific day fertilization happened and, thus, how far along in pregnancy your dog is at any given time.
However, if you suspect your canine is pregnant, make sure to consult a vet immediately. They can conduct a blood test or check the dog’s abdomen to confirm pregnancy.
After all, it’s best to be prepared, as your American Bully may give birth to 4 to 8 puppies.
When Can an American Bully Get Pregnant?
American Bullies, one of the most well-known bulldog breeds in the world, start going into heat between 4 and 6 months old and can become pregnant during this time.
However, as early as you may think your American Bully is ready to have babies, it’s generally advised to consider pregnancy during their second heat cycle, giving the dog more time to mature.
Years ago, my friend’s American Bully, Daisy, got pregnant at a young age. By the time she reached the week of expected delivery, it was clear that she was struggling. Simply put, the early pregnancy led to dystocia.
On a different note, for a successful pregnancy in American Bullies, remember that they’re only fertile during a specific part of their cycle.
Of course, this can be very difficult to predict. Thus, to increase the chances of pregnancy, ask your vet to perform a vaginal smear and a progesterone test on your American Bully.
These tests can determine when your female canine is ovulating and, therefore, more likely to conceive.
American Bully Pregnancy Stages (Week-by-Week)
Unlike humans, an American Bully will be pregnant for just a short time. Therefore, it’s only necessary to know the different stages of this breed’s pregnancy to help you determine when your dog will have puppies.
For your reference, the following are the various stages of American Bully pregnancy:
Week 1: Mating Occurs
During the first week of pregnancy in American Bullies, there’s no apparent change yet. Mating has occurred, but it’s a quiet period, and you won’t see any visible signs suggesting your pet is expecting.
As a matter of fact, it can take a couple of days or weeks for the pregnancy to be confirmed.
Week 2: Embryo Implantation
By the time your pregnant American Bully reaches week two, the tiny embryos, also called fertilized eggs, will find their way to the uterus and begin the implantation process.
This is a critical stage as these embryos, no bigger than a pinhead, will eventually become American Bully puppies.
Week 3: Embryos Start Developing
Just as you start to wonder whether your female American Bully is pregnant or not, the third week presents subtle clues.
By now, the embryo implantation should be complete, and the fertilized eggs begin their developmental journey.
Your American Bully is also going to start showing signs of pregnancy. In particular, you might notice that it has gained some weight, and its daily routine has changed a bit.
Week 4: Formation of the Placenta
When the fourth week arrives, an exciting event happens in the pregnant American Bully’s belly — the placenta begins forming. This organ will be the primary source of nutrition for the developing puppies.
Around this time, if you gently feel your dog’s abdomen, tiny bumps corresponding to the fetuses can be felt in the uterine horns.
Week 5: Major Organ Development
By the fifth week, the unborn puppies have gained most of their weight and are beginning to develop their major organs, including legs, toes, and private parts.
As a result, you can expect that their American Bully mother’s belly and waist will begin to look more rounded.
During this week, however, try to feed your pregnant American Bully smaller yet more frequent meals than usual. This will help its body adjust to pregnancy so that it can carry out its role in the litter with ease later on.
Week 6: Fur and Color
As the pregnant American Bully moves into the sixth week, her pups are growing rapidly, and it’s not just their organs — their outer appearance starts to resemble the canines they will soon be.
Meanwhile, the mother will show symptoms of discomfort and may become more aggressive toward other dogs around it. Thus, it should be kept in an area where it can rest without being disturbed.
Week 7: Puppy Development Is Almost Complete
After seven weeks of gestation, the unborn pups’ growth inside your pregnant American Bully will have almost reached completion.
This is also the week when the mother’s belly becomes larger and firmer. Further, you’ll notice that its nipples will start to swell.
Week 8: Final Development
The eighth week marks the final stage of the puppies’ development inside the womb of your pregnant American Bully.
A noticeable change is the pups pressing against your canine’s stomach and other nearby organs; it’s a clear sign they’re running out of room and getting ready for birth.
If you’re curious about how many puppies to expect, having an X-ray taken on day 55 can give you an estimate.
Week 9: Readiness for Birth
Finally, the ninth week indicates that the big moment is almost here. At this time, you should begin taking your pregnant American Bully’s rectal temperature at least 12 hours apart.
A normal temperature in dogs usually ranges between 100°F and 101°F. Yet, here’s the catch: once it falls to 97°F or lower, it indicates that labor is on the way, expected within the next 24 hours.
For an idea of what American Bully pregnancy looks like week by week, you can also watch this video:
American Bully Stages of Labor and Birth
When it comes to the labor and birth process of the American Bully breed, understanding each stage is essential for the well-being of both the mother and the puppies.
The labor stages your pregnant American Bully is expected to pass through can be summarized as follows:
Labor Stage 1: Nesting Behavior
The first hint that labor is near begins with the nesting behavior.
As the day approaches, your pregnant American Bully might start looking for a safe and comfy area to give birth. It’ll also often become restless, and you may notice it circling, scratching, or rearranging its bedding.
Moreover, you’ll see that its swollen nipples will begin to leak a yellow or orange-colored liquid called colostrum.
Labor Stage 2: Active Labor
After nesting, active labor sets in. This is when contractions start, and the process of delivering puppies, which are initially covered in an amniotic sac, begins.
Depending on the number of pups, this stage can vary in length. For each one, there might be a period of intense contraction followed by a more relaxed phase.
Remember, while some pooches prefer privacy, it’s best to keep an eye on your American Bully to ensure everything is going smoothly. They may need some extra assistance from you during this time.
Labor Stage 3: Expulsion of Placentas
Once active labor is over, the American Bully enters labor stage three, which involves the expulsion of placentas.
It’s crucial to ensure that there’s a placenta for each puppy. If one is missing, it might still be inside the mother and could cause complications like metritis.
Lastly, the post-birth period is a time for the American Bully mom and puppies to bond. To be specific, the mother will lick the pups’ faces and bodies clean of their mucous membranes.
Then, she will begin to nurse them. This process continues until they are old enough to be weaned from her milk.
Signs Your American Bully Is Pregnant
When identifying signs of pregnancy in the American Bully breed, you should keep an eye out for a variety of changes. Not only does it allow for better care, but it also prepares you for the arrival of puppies.
Below are several signs that your dog might be pregnant:
1. Appetite Changes
In general, a pregnant dog’s appetite can change dramatically, especially in the early stages of pregnancy. Some pregnant American Bullies are known for eating more, while others may have less interest in food.
2. Sudden Weight Gain
When a dog is pregnant, it may suddenly begin to gain weight. So, if you see an unexpected increase in your American Bully’s size, this could be a sign that it’s about to have pups.
During my time working at a veterinary clinic, I witnessed many American Bully pregnancies. One particular Bully, Bella, showed significant weight gain by the second week. Concerned, we monitored her diet week by week.
We also advised Bella’s owner to avoid overfeeding since that could lead to obesity. By the time Bella reached the last week of pregnancy, her weight had increased by 25% — just within the expected range.
3. Altered Behavior
Changes in behavior are a common sign that your American Bully is pregnant. Specifically, your pooch might become more affectionate or, on the contrary, ignore you completely.
Overall, it’s important to pay close attention to these alterations and provide your pet with the necessary attention.
4. Enlarged Abdomen and Belly
One of the most visible signs of pregnancy in canines is the enlargement of their abdomens and bellies. Hence, if your American Bully is getting a little rounder than usual, it may be pregnant.
5. Protruded and Darkened Nipples
Most of the time, a pregnant American Bully’s nipples will protrude, swell, and darken. This is because its mammary glands are already preparing to deliver milk for the developing puppies.
6. Tiredness or Lethargy
Throughout the pregnancy, your American Bully will be extremely tired and lethargic. It may even sleep a lot or not want to be active at all. This behavior is typical of expecting canines.
7. Mild Vaginal Discharge
If you notice that your American Bully has a slight vaginal discharge, it could be a clear sign of pregnancy. This is because the female dog’s hormones are changing to prepare the body for giving birth.
Yet, note that the discharge should not be bloody or foul-smelling. Otherwise, this could indicate other medical problems, such as an infection.
8. Nesting Instincts
In most instances, a pregnant American Bully might show nesting instincts. For one, it will search for a quiet, comfortable place to give birth.
Further, you might observe it scratching at its bedding more frequently or seeking secluded spots in your home.
How to Test Your American Bully’s Pregnancy
When an American Bully is pregnant, especially an XL one, it can be difficult to tell for sure. Thanks to modern technology, however, you can now easily confirm the pregnancy in dogs.
Here’s a list of different tests to determine whether your American Bully is pregnant:
- Palpation: Palpation involves gently probing the American Bully’s abdomen, usually done by the fourth week of pregnancy. However, this technique requires experience to avoid harming the developing pups.
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound test is another way to confirm a pregnancy. A vet will use sound waves to check for the presence of a fetus inside your American Bully’s uterus. This test may be performed as early as three weeks into the gestation period.
- Relaxin Hormone Testing: Canines produce the relaxin hormone only when pregnant. By the 25th to 30th day of pregnancy, testing for this hormone will be able to tell you if your American Bully is expecting or not.
- X-ray: An X-ray test is usually performed in the last couple of weeks of gestation. This test helps not only in confirming the pregnancy but also in estimating the litter size of an American Bully.
While it can be tempting to use home pregnancy tests on your American Bully, remember that human pregnancy differs from canine pregnancy and may cause false positives. So, just consult your vet to get a proper answer.
How to Take Care of a Pregnant American Bully
Generally, caring for a pregnant American Bully requires immense dedication, as it needs abundant upkeep and attention during the different stages of pregnancy.
First, provide American Bully moms with a safe, cozy space; often, they find one spot they favor throughout their pregnancy. Also, introduce them to their whelping box as early as possible.
As for their diet, their weight should rise by 15 to 25% by whelping time. Therefore, feed them quality commercial growth-and-lactation dog food that’s tasty, easily digestible, and nutrient-rich.
Specifically, this diet should contain at least 29% protein and 17% dietary fat, with a minimum of 5% fiber content.
Most importantly, note that regular vet checkups are essential during any stage of pregnancy — even for pregnant American Bullies who are otherwise fit and healthy.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Puppies Do American Bullies Have in a Litter?
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the typical litter size of an American Bully ranges between 4 and 8 puppies. However, note that some litters can have as many as 16.
Yet, as the dog’s pregnancy progresses, bear in mind that a vet can provide more precise estimates of the number of puppies by using X-ray tests, abdominal palpations, or ultrasounds.
How Many Hours Is an American Bully in Labor?
Labor for a pregnant American Bully typically spans between 6 and 24 hours. However, it’s crucial to note that the first pup should be delivered within 2 to 3 hours. If this doesn’t happen, it’s a sign that your pregnant dog is facing complications.
In such cases, contacting a vet as soon as possible is suggested to ensure the safety of the American Bully mother and her puppies.
How Do You Know When Your American Bully Is Ready to Give Birth?
To determine if your pregnant American Bully is ready to give birth, ensure to monitor its rectal temperature.
If your dog’s rectal temperature reads between 100 and 101°F, it’s not time yet. However, a drop to around 97 degrees indicates your pregnant pooch will likely give birth within the next 24 hours.
You may also observe a number of behavioral changes in your American Bully, such as scratching, digging, and nesting, which are signs that labor is coming.
Can American Bullies Give Natural Birth?
Yes, according to reputable breeders, American Bullies can give natural birth. They have a genetic predisposition to be large and strong, so expect that they are capable of giving birth without assistance.
However, always be prepared to consult a vet if your American Bully shows signs of not being ready to give birth naturally, such as vomiting, high fever, and weak contractions.
Does My American Bully Need a C-Section?
Generally speaking, a pregnant American Bully doesn’t need to undergo a cesarean delivery or C-section. It can be performed, but it’s unnecessary, as Bullies can safely deliver their puppies naturally.
However, if your dog is past the due date, is vigorously pushing for 30 to 60 minutes without delivering a puppy, or if pups are in a breeched position, a C-section might be required.
Navigating the journey of an American Bully’s pregnancy can be both exciting and challenging. Yet, with a little bit of knowledge, you can make it easier for your pet to get through this special time in their life.
If you have any experience caring for a pregnant American Bully, please share your tips in the comments!